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Hyde Ponders Crop Specifics

Penalty needs to be appropriate

Suspensions – as opposed to fines – for exceeding the 12-strike whip limit could be on the way but it looks as if thoughts of including the use of the whip in the backhand position in the 12 permitted will be dropped.

When the whip rule was introduced on May 10 the initial stipes reports stated that “The general use of the crop will be monitored until 31 May. Until this time the limit of 12 crop strikes will apply.”

Arnold Hyde on the right, pictured with colleague Cecil Van As

Senior racing control executive Arnold Hyde explained to Michael Clower earlier this week: “The monitoring of crop use really pertains to the use of the crop in the backhand position with the hands on the reins, and to see if the 12 strikes should include the backhand but it looks as if the backhand is not being abused at all. It’s possibly a bit early to say this but at the moment 12 strikes is where we want to be bearing in mind that we only introduced a number on May 10.”

So far fines have usually been the order of the day, even for repeat offenders (Serino Moodley last week was a notable exception), but more suspensions are on the horizon.

Hyde said: “We are still in the initial stages of our rule but in other jurisdictions there are harsher penalties and the way the world of racing is going we definitely have to consider that angle.”

In France, for instance, jockeys are limited to five strikes as they are in Germany where the five includes slaps down the shoulder. German jockeys also face a mandatory 14-day suspension, even for the first offence, and the loss of their share of the stakes. Sliding scale suspensions apply to jockeys in France who use the whip more than ten times – 11 days for 11 strokes, 12 days for 12 strokes etc.

In Australia the rules have recently been changed to allow objections to be made against a jockey who exceeds the limit, and that could also come here.

Hyde said: “There is a view that if a jockey contravenes the rule he is gaining an advantage over the rest who are keeping within the rule, so we would have to look very seriously at this. There needs to be a level playing field for all and, if someone breaking the rules gains an advantage, there should be a penalty that is appropriate.”

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17 comments on “Hyde Ponders Crop Specifics

  1. Graeme Hawkins says:

    Heaven forbid we get to a situation where objections can be laid for transgressing the crop rule – that cannot be in the best interests of Owners or Punters!! The penalty must accrue solely to the jockey and repeat offenders harshly dealt with. Immediate suspensions must be introduced (red card system) so that offending jockeys cannot determine when a suspension is “convenient” for them. If they lose out on rides in major races – so be it!!!

  2. Ronny says:

    unbelievable, in France it’s 5 strikes..I have never paid attention…No wonder, France is the centre that I lose the most with my horses running 2nd and 3rd most of the time.

  3. Armchair jockey says:

    When I read stuff like this and especially the last bit, I wonder which will come first; the demise of racing or the replacing of human jockeys with robotic ones, or maybe robot horses, or maybe merely virtual racing. The racing establishment is a useful ally in the plot to dismantle racing entirely.

  4. Tex says:

    Education, Education and a honeymoon period should be the order of the day when drastic changes are made !!!

  5. Brian says:

    So, France does this, Australia does that and so on. If they ban horse racing will we follow? If they decide horses should have red hoof polish will we follow?

    Are we to scared to lead. Are we ashamed of being South African?

    This rule was pushed through in an amateurish fashion. It was bungled and it is still a mess.

    The jockeys finds should be refunded.

    If the crop doesn’t hurt what’s the issue. Public opinion? Fair enough.

    There was a better way to handle this Mr Hyde. It was bungled in true NHA fashion.

    There should have been a honeymoon period but you saw a quick buck.

  6. Beverley Hibbert says:

    Just curious, have you ever been hit by a crop? I have and it can hurt. And I have seen racehorses after a race with welts. I think this is a superb rule, ensuring the jockey rides his mount rather than whips it to the winning post. Maybe it needs tweaking, but a great rule in general.

  7. Brian says:

    I watched a video with Ms Wing recently where a trainer, I may be mistaken, but I think it might have been Garth Puller, invited her to use the crop with force on his hand. That to prove the crop caused no harm which, it clearly didn’t.

    Based on that I make my comment that if, and I’m not saying it does or does not, if, it causes no pain why then was this rule pushed through in the manner it was with severe fines being levied without some honeymoon period.

    My argument is with the NHA who continue to act in an autocratic and in an almost dictatorship fashion jumping on any issue to fine a trainer and jockey.

    I doubt you will find one punter, serious horse racing loving punter, owner of trainer or jockey who wishes even the slightest harm to any horse.

    And having said that this issue should have been given more thought than it was.

    I submit with utmost respect that the horse’s feelings in this issue were the least of their concerns. PR and mainly MONEY was uppermost in the minds of the powers that be.

    The horse should have been first and if it had been this could have worked out wonderfully for all concerned

  8. Tony Mincione says:

    For a start, it’s a guideline and not a rule. Despite ample proof that guidelines are in fact rules, Mr V Moodley, CEO of the NHRA decreed that a guideline is actually a fuzzy thing, more a give or take (apparently).

    From reading Mr Hyde and the comments, we have to decide whether extra cracks of the whip (or smacks with a stick, whatever), is an advantage or disadvantage.

    Experts have said extra “smacks” don’t make a horse go on (arguing that more smacks don’t matter so doing it shouldn’t incur fines, although some say the same and say we don’t need whips), while Mr Hyde says ” a jockey contravenes the rule he is gaining an advantage”. To point out the obvious, they can’t all be right.

    At some point we probably need to decide is it advantage or cruelty, then determine the parameters, then the fines. Then lets make it a rule and not fuzzy logic.

    And spare a thought for the jock who in one scene gets fined for sparing the rod and in the next for abusing the rod. Whip. Stick. Who in the heat of battle knows where the bloody Goldilocks spot is? This is a NHRA failure. Failure to understand their beef, failure to be clear, and the failure to be consistent with rules, transgressions and penalties.

    For what it’s worth, I think jockeys are riding just enough vigor to win if they can and to relent when they see it doesn’t make a difference. I think inexperienced jockeys may get it a bit wrong in the beginning but figure it out soon enough.

    I think we all know cruelty when we see it. I wish the NHRA just went back to ‘integrity of their job’ as the ‘guideline’ and clear penalties for the ‘rule’. How hard can this be?

  9. Warren Grobler says:

    Whist the NHRA is so busy trying to sort out this ‘discretionary’ rule that it has now introduced,it is failing in it’s duty to get other basics right.

    I see we have another horse running today(in race 6,Dalai’s Promise),who in fact jumped out of the incorrect starting stall last time.I found nothing mentioned about this in the Stipes report for the day.Was this even spotted?There were only 7 runners,how can they get this wrong?

    This is close on the heels of the PE issue of the same sort,so clearly no mechanisms have been put into place to ensure that this does not occur again.

    Before they go around dishing out all sorts of penalties for the use of the whip,I’d like them to get their house with regards to the basics of the game.

  10. PL.NEL says:

    Where is the line between man, pets and beasts.
    When man is not in control then what? We breed and train for what? Will beasts not be instructed in mans world as to achieve mans want, this even in training?
    If you are not man enough then get out of this sport.

  11. Rian says:

    O M G what a professional team we have, rules, rules and more rules by a bunch of **** (edited)
    Do Apprentice riders have to follow the same rules or do they get some sort of allowance.

  12. Brendon says:

    What did this sport ever do to be so deserving and blessed with such great Pioneers at the helm? It just seems like being indecisive and controversial is what is a key requirement to occupy a leadership position in racing.

    Surely, this fiasco (be it a guideline, rule of whatever) was not canvassed with the jockeys, trainers and owners before implementation. It seems like the NHA has a new whip and its needs to be used on some unsuspecting jockey.

    The NHA owes it to the racing public to properly explain what was the catalyst for the introduction of the fiasco? What engagement or process was followed to develop this masterpiece? What exactly are they seeking to address?

    The UK’s BHA also introduced some whip restrictions in 2011 that rubbed the jockeys, trainers and owners the wrong way. Surely our NHA leaders remember this. Back then, McCoy publicly stated that he would strike his daughter with the whip – to illustrate that its use on his mount did not inflict the level of pain that the general public outcries suggested. If this is what one of the greatest and STRONGEST jockeys ever to sit in the saddle had to say, then let’s move on from the cruelty debate in the interest of understanding why the NHA feels something needs to be fixed?

    There needs to be some sanity and discretion on the subject matter. So, if 12 strikes are the rule/guide, then could the NHA give us their view whether a jockey should be punished if his mount did not respond at all to the first 10 strikes and the 11th or 12th strike was still administered? vs a jockey who uses 13 strikes and the mount responded positively to each and every strike? Would the NHA discriminate on the number of strikes allowable on a younger horse vs older horse?

    It would be useful if the NHA can educate us on what exactly they are solving for or seeking safeguard as opposed to “Hyde Ponders” and we are left scratching our heads.

  13. Gerald says:

    Horseracing and crops known formally as whips have been around since forever.
    There has been no justification for changing the rules except to compare us with some other countries.
    I expected some scientific or medical justification but none has been given.
    Lately, I have been intrigued by the jockeys riding on the outer Turffontein track. You can actually see by their riding that they are trying to count the amount of times they have used the crop. Races will now be won or lost on the jockeys decision when to start and when not to start using the crop.
    Considering the approach of the jockey club, are they now saying that the world has now come to the point that countries are must ban the cavalry because horses should not be used for war?
    Owners, trainers, breeders and jockeys should
    Petition the jockey club to reverse the new rule. If it cannot be justified it has no place in the rules. Please will SP create a special poll where people can vote or make known their views.

  14. Jess K says:

    So who is going to count the number of strikes for each horse for each race for each meeting ?
    Is there a dedicated stipe whose job it is to watch the replay of each race and count or …. ?
    At least we know the stipes can count to 12, or ….. ?

  15. Brendon says:

    The Chiefs need to take note of how legislation is passed in RSA. There’s a structured process, that includes tabling papers, draft legislation, debates, comments, voting and somewhere down the line its binding on all and sundry once it is signed into law.

    If someone on this forum can give us a overview of how rule changes are legally meant to be effected in racing and what checks and balances exist to ensure that one or two Chiefs do not push their own agenda at the expense of the sport. If the current process is somewhat flawed in that power is overly concentrated in the hands of a few, then steps need to be taken to address this urgently.

    Is there separation of duties between those who conceive the rule changes, those who pass it and those who enforce it?

  16. Brian says:

    The NHA does owe it to the racing public. They couldn’t give a damn about the racing public.

    Gone are the days of great men like Ben Jonson and his colleagues.

  17. Mashie says:

    Familiarise yourselves with the IFHA rules, to which we have to comply. Together with that there is public opinion, welfare issues and the SPCA.

    The NHA have got to be seen to be doing something to curb crop use. I have personally seen welts on horses rumps post race – I don’t know about you but if I got hit hard enough to leave a welt, it would probably have hurt.

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